Ronan. You know what got me through today? That little secret dimple you gave Poppy. The exact same one you had hidden on your little right lower cheek. The one that only came out when you smile or pouted.
The picture below is you at around a year. This was Poppy yesterday. That secret little dimple is such a gift that every time I see it, I get butterflies in my stomach. You are beyond amazing for doing this and this is absolute proof that you played such a huge role in all things Poppy.
Thank you, Ro.
Ronan. Today being 26 months without you, made me want to hide in my bed all day long. Your baby sister woke me up this morning at exactly 3:23 a.m., just minutes before you died, to eat. How does she already know everything at just 12 weeks old? How did she know at that moment, I needed a reminder that even though you are gone, you are still with us at all times? She is already so wise beyond her years.
I wanted to hide in bed all day and do nothing but sleep, sleep, sleep. I didn’t. I played with your brothers, instead. I went for a hike with your Papa Jim, your brothers, Poppy and Jady girl. I decorated some trees with your bracelets like I always do when I am hiking or out and about at places I know you would love to be with us.
I’m sorry I haven’t been writing to you on this blog. It makes me so sad that I have so much going on, that it seems to take away time from my quiet time, writing to you. Days are filled with me making sure your brothers are enjoying their summer as much as possible and bonding with your Poppy sister by making her smile and laugh as much as I can. The quiet time I have to myself which is really late at night after everyone is asleep has been spent working on this book. I have been having a war inside my head with myself about it. I swear I am my own worst enemy. I’m constantly doing the second guessing, the what if it’s not good enough, what if I don’t make him proud. A wise little editors words haunt my head… “Remember, besides having kids, this is going to be the most permanent thing you do in life.” No pressure at all. The hardest part has been figuring out where to start, but I did it. It’s kind of like jumping off of a cliff. Sometimes you just have to close your eyes, follow your heart and take a huge leap of faith. I seem to be finding my words easily and so far, I have not had to go back to reference my blog at all. I’m sure there will come a point when I have to do that, but for now I seem to be doing just fine without having to reread my painful words. I know the inspiration I am finding all comes from you, so thank you once again, little man.
I’m going to keep this short and sweet tonight as I need to get some writing done for a few hours before my eyes fall too heavy to see the computer screen. I hate 26 months without you. I’m so sorry. I miss you so much that it makes me sick. I am doing my best even though I still have days where I just want to close my eyes and go to sleep for a very long time. I can’t do that to you though. We have too many things to get done here.
I miss you. I love you. I hope you are safe. Sweet dreams, baby doll.
Ronan. I survived your 18 months. It rained. Of course it did. It was a hard day with a lot of tears but I didn’t die. If pain alone could kill me, I would have died about a million times by now. I’ve been busy but not in my normal way of running around like a chicken with it’s head cut off. I’ve been doing a lot of things around our house, which you know kills me. I’ve been spending a lot of time with your brothers and daddy. We have gone out to eat a couple of times, as a family. “Table for 4 please,” never becomes easier to say. I always have to say it fighting back tears. I told Rita yesterday that being pregnant makes me suicidal. I was kind of joking but kind of not. I feel really alone and isolated with this pregnancy. Like I am the only mother in the world who has lost a child and is now carrying another life inside of her. I know there are other mothers out there, who have gone through this as well. But they are not really in my inner circle, unless you count Dr. Jo. So for the most part, I am alone in this. Nobody else that I am in contact with, knows what this could possibly feel like. Instead this pregnancy is filled with a lot of happiness from the outside world. As if this will fix everything. It doesn’t. It will not. I know this baby will bring a lot of smiles, but my smiles will always come with tears; for the rest of my life. The pain behind my eyes, will never go away.
I have been trying to plan our second annual Macegiving. You know since last year I banned Thanksgiving at our house. We made our own day and it revolved around your Auntie Macy and doing whatever the hell we wanted. No formal Thanksgiving Day existed. Macy will fly in, just as she did last year to save us from this wretched holiday. Maybe this year, I feel as if I have more to be thankful for, but I still think it is bullshit that I have to sit around a table, without you. Last year, I wore my “Fuck Cancer,” shirt. I shot a bb gun. We ate Chinese Food, let off fireworks and beat the shit out of a piñata. This year will be more of the same but I will cook some pies. I love cooking pies and miss it so much. We will have friends come and go through out the day. Nothing formal or stuffy. No fancy clothes or fake smiles required. No prayers or sitting around a table together saying what it is, we are thankful for. Our day will be tough, as all holidays are, but thankfully we have some great friends to help us get through it. The best fucking friends on the planet.
Poppy is growing like crazy. So is my stomach. Never in my life have I eaten healthier, not because I want to, but because she requires it. I’m a healthy eater anyway, but Little Miss Poppy, has taken it to a whole new level. No meat, not much candy, no fast food, nothing greasy or processed. I’ve been living off of humus, fruit, veggies, some cheese here and there. The other day, I went to a restaurant with Stacy and Fernanda. Fernanda ordered a burger, Stacy the French Dip. “I’ll have the veggie platter, please.” They both looked at me like I was crazy. “WTF? I know! This Poppy only wants really healthy shit!” With all of you boys, I totally remember eating burgers, ice cream, etc… Stuff that you are supposed to enjoy when you are pregnant. Maybe it’s because she is a girl, that I want none of that stuff. I find it funny. I wonder if the second she is born, that I’ll be dying for my meat and candy galore again. Right now, sign me up for the beets, cauliflower, humus, apples, and whatever healthy stuff I can get my hands on. I even went to the movies a couple of weeks ago with Rita and pulled out cauliflower from my purse. It didn’t even seem weird to me until she pointed out that it was totally weird. Your little sister is quirky already and I kind of love it;) She is already taking after me.
Last week I got the news that the trial we funded with Solving Kids’ Cancer for Dr. Mosse at CHOP is a go. We sent our check in and I could not be more proud. Proud of you. Proud of us. Proud of all the people out there, sending us there hard-earned money. A dollar here, a dollar there…. It all adds up. I am so proud to be partnering up with another AMAZING childhood cancer foundation. Believe me, I have researched them ALL. Solving Kids’ Cancer is the best of the best. I cannot wait to collaborate with them for the many more things that we have in the works. Together, we are going to change this game, big time. I kept my word to Dr. Mosse. I said from the very beginning the first thing we funded, would be with her. Although she never treated you, Ronan, she navigated us down this road and at the end of the day was the only person to look me in the eyes and say, “I am so sorry. We as a medical community, have failed you.” Those words, one of the worst things I have ever had to hear, came across not in a sharp and hurtful way, but full of compassion and true sadness. Her eyes were full of the dignity and grace that you deserved and that we as parents, so needed. I believe in the work she is doing. I believe in her as not only a doctor, but a human being. I know what she is doing, will make a difference. I am so happy to support her in any way that we can. Thank you all so much, for making this happen. This would not have happened, without you.
Tonight I went to Chelsea’s Kitchen for a little pow wow of a dinner. I met up with some of our lovies for an impromptu meeting about some things we have in the works. We talked about some foundation things but also some personal things. I have some of my closest girlfriends who want to throw me a baby shower. I’ve been fighting them on it but I know I am not going to win. We sat tonight and talked about how they know the “traditional,” baby shower, won’t fly for me. “Please, I don’t want to sit around, drink punch and open gifts. Please, I don’t want to play the jelly bean game where you guess how many of them are in a baby bottle. Please, I don’t want to have everyone guess how big my belly is with a string. I will throw up and run out of the room if any of that takes place.” Please I just want my Ronan back, too. Can’t I have Ronan and Poppy both? I cannot. At the end of the night the girls came up with some ideas for this very non traditional baby shower which I will know nothing about as I am just showing up. All of their ideas made me laugh and seems very Maya like which means it goes against the norm of everything baby shower required. My anxiety is a lot less now. I am so thankful for the friends I have, who understand that a traditional shower would only send me screaming out of the room, crying. I am thankful for the friends who embrace the me for being me and love me so much. I am thankful that they are still here and were brave enough to never go away, even when I know I was not capable of being a friend to anyone. I am thankful for them loving me and never judging. Because they understand that nobody has the right to judge a grieving mother. It’s because of their gifts that I will forever spend the rest of my life, giving them what I have left. Which at times, may only be a little or it may be a lot. Either way, they do not care. They love me enough to stand by my side to know that when I am ready, I will come back. I feel like I have in a lot of ways. I am so glad they waited for me. I am so glad they never gave up, even after you left Ronan. They are still here and still fighting. That is also because they love you, so very much. I know there was a time in my life when I thought I didn’t need anybody. All I wanted to do, was push everyone away. The friends that are still here are the one’s who never stopped fighting for you, for me, for us, for our family. I will forever be so thankful for them. I now know that I very much needed them all so badly. I would be so sad, if they had gone away which they easily could have done but chose not to do. Thank you to all of you, who are still here. I love you so very much.
Alright little man. I am beat. Poppy is still making me pretty tired. I am dreaming so vividly but still not seeing you which I don’t understand. I talk about you, watch everyone else talk about you, your death seems to be in my dreams all of the time, but never your little face. I would give anything to see it. I think about you all of the time. You would think this would mean I get to see you in my dreams too. I don’t. I hardly ever do. I miss you. I love you. I hope you are safe. Sweet dreams, baby doll.
Ronan. I am at my office on a Saturday being very productive. I am online researching all the genetic diseases Poppy is going to be born with, because clearly she is going to die. I wish I could say I was joking about my past hour of “research,” but I am not. I had to stop myself because I was getting physically sick to my stomach. I wish my dark mind did not work this way. I wish I were still the naive mom who didn’t know anything about the death of a child. My mind likes to try to go to these dark places a lot. It is a full-time job to keep these obsessive, destructive thoughts away. But sometimes, I just have to go there because I get tired of all the fighting it. I am not naive. I do not live in a bubble. I know these realities, much too well.
Your brothers had a basketball game today. I drove separately because they were going to the ASU game with your daddy right after their basketball game. I was in A.J.’s grabbing some fruit to munch on for the game. Your daddy sent me a text that said, “Liam needs you.” I threw down my fruit and ran out the door, over to The Village to see what was going on. Liam never needs me. I got to the basketball court and asked your daddy what was going on. He said that Liam had a full on breakdown in the car on the way over to the game where he was crying about you and how much he wishes you were there to watch him. Liam was warming up and I gently went over to him and pulled him to the side. “Hey, Dad told me what happened in the car, buddy. I’m sorry.” He looked up at me with his big hazel eyes and I watched as they started to form tears. It took everything I had, not to break down and cry right there in front of him. I knew I could not. I had to give him a little strong pep talk. I think it went something like this…”Ronan is always watching you. He is always right her with us. I know he is so proud of you. I know he is the reason your team in undefeated this year, Liam. He is the reason you are playing basketball so well this year, because you get your strength, from him. I know you are going to go out there, and have such a great game and Ronan is watching every single second of it. Even though you can’t see him, I promise you he is with you.” He put on his little brave face and ran back out on the court after that. He had one of the best games I’ve ever seen him play in my life. I don’t feel happy very often anymore, but watching your brothers play on the same team, high-fiving each other after one of them makes a basket or has a great assist, makes my heart skip a beat. This little Poppy that I have growing inside me, could not have come at a better time, Ronan. We all so need her. As of right now, I think it’s your brothers who need her the most. They need her more than I do, as of now. She is going to be such a gift to us all, but especially to them. I know she will make the pain in their eyes, a little less.
I have to go to Costco today. As in, I have been sitting here for the past 40 minutes, prepping myself for my Costco trip. I still don’t do well in grocery stores. I wonder if this is a “thing,” with all bereaved parents. The fear of the grocery stores. I don’t have you to push in the cart anymore, like I would always do. I don’t have you to chase around the store, yelling at you to come back because you would always run off. I don’t have you to fight with over you wanting every type of candy, cookie or popsicle in the store. I get to see all the other mom’s and dad’s there with their kids. Where are you? Why are you not with me? I used to love our little grocery store trips, so much. Now I’m just the really sad mom, doing everything I can to push my cart as fast as I can through the aisles, fighting my way past the tears so I can see enough to get our stuff. Costco blows. But being without you, blows even more. I ended up not being able to go to Costco. I sent you daddy there instead, with your brothers. I, on the other hand, aborted Costco mission and sat at my little office desk and sobbed for about 30 minutes. Saturday was not a good day. I came home after that and fell asleep for a while. I got up before your brothers got home and put on my best mama face for the night. They had a friend sleepover which was a nice treat for us all. Sometimes, a third little guy in the house helps so much. I got to be the cool fun mom on Saturday night. Your brothers came to me, “Mom! Can you take us tee-peeing?” I looked at Mandy Bee, who was here. I told them to come back and ask me in 45 minutes. They did and I told them yes. So we all dressed up in crazy outfits and I piled everyone into our car. They were all 3 so excited in the back and giggling about our little adventure. I drove them over to a very specific house with a very specific plan. We weren’t just going to teepee anyone. We went over to the Willets. Those 3 boys are always up to something fun, and I knew they would get a kick out of it. Turns out, tee-peeing at 8:45 at night is not the way to go. The boys were outside and their mom was across the street at the neighbors. I let the boys out anyway with their toilet paper and they went to town. It turned into a full on toilet paper, wresting battle between 6 boys. I got to sit and watch your brothers have fun and catch up with Gay which is always the best. I love her so much. She misses you so much. All of her boys do. I’ll never forget spending your last Halloween with them. Your favorite holiday that is right around the corner. I can’t believe it’s almost here, and I don’t have you to dress up. Somedays, I still don’t know how I am surviving this. We are going over to the Willets this year. We didn’t last year, and your brothers were so upset. Your daddy and I didn’t think we could handle it. Your daddy still doesn’t think we can handle it. I looked at him this year and said, “We are going. It’s not about us, it’s about them. They deserve to have a nice Halloween and this is what they want to do.” He looked at me and said, “You are right.” So to the Willets we will go, while missing every single thing about you, as we always do.
I’ve gotta run, little bug. Quinn was home from school today, “sick.” I really think he just wanted a day with me. I’ve got to get some things done around the house, before Liam gets here. I miss you. I love you. I hope you are safe.
P.S. Dear New York lovies,
Please stay safe. Thinking about you all.